X Close

Why did we give up on AstraZeneca? Our faltering vaccine programme means it's time to reassess its risk

A child receives a coronavirus vaccination in Utrecht, Netherlands. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

A child receives a coronavirus vaccination in Utrecht, Netherlands. (Photo by Patrick van Katwijk/BSR Agency/Getty Images)


July 20, 2021   6 mins

There is an irony, which is that on so-called Freedom Day, it was announced that one freedom would not be expanded. Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccine minister, declared yesterday that only extremely vulnerable children between the ages of 12 and 15 would be offered the vaccine: that is, children who have severe disabilities or who are immunocompromised.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) explained that this is the result of a risk-benefit analysis. The JCVI’s Prof Adam Finn in a briefing with the Science Media Centre pointed out that “happily the virus very rarely affects children seriously”, and that the very small risks of adverse effects from the vaccine outweigh the risk to a child of getting, and then becoming ill with, Covid. The UK medicines regulator has declared the Pfizer vaccine safe and effective in children, but the JCVI has a more stringent approach.

Similar calculations were made back in March. At the time, a small number of cases of a rare clotting disease were detected in people who had had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. As a result, the JCVI recommended that it not be used in the under-40s unless no other options were available.

That decision was based on a straightforward risk-benefit analysis. The risk of a blood clot caused by the vaccine is vanishingly small – about one in 50,000, with the risk of severe health impacts lower still. But young people are also at very low risk of getting severely ill if they develop Covid, and the number of people with Covid at the time was very low – only about 6,000 new cases a day, compared to about 60,000 at the January peak. That meant that the chance of a young person getting infected, and then getting very ill, was even smaller than the risk of a blood clot, as the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication showed.

“Freedom Day” has happened now. It’s far from clear what effect it will actually have. The Government’s Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M-O)’s latest modelling paper, published last week, says that by the end of August, we could end up with fewer than 100 hospitalisations a day, or more than 10,000. 

Small changes to our assumptions drive huge changes to the outcomes: will 90% of people stop wearing masks? 70% 50%? Will we all pile into nightclubs and theatres, or only a few of us? We don’t know: these things, or a million others. As the Bristol maths professor Oliver Johnson puts it, “the range of uncertainty around any reasonable forecast probably includes both ‘it’s basically fine’ and ‘we have a very serious problem’.” 

What we do know, though, is that cases were already growing before Freedom Day. The R value is well above one. If we wanted to reduce the number of cases, to make the line on that chart actually go down, then we would need to reintroduce some (probably quite stringent) measures. That seems unlikely.

But what we can do is get more people vaccinated. And it seems that two obvious ways of doing that are to vaccinate children, and to start using the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in younger people again.

Vaccination makes a huge difference to Covid risk, in every way. Which is why it’s a problem that our programme has tailed off so much. On one glorious day back in March, 844,000 vaccine doses were reported to have been administered across the UK. That was anomalous; but from March until about June, there was an average of between 500,000 and 600,000 doses being administered every day.

Since early June, though, those numbers have sagged dispiritingly. It’s been more like 250,000 for the last few weeks.

So how do we get it back up to higher levels, given that vaccine coverage is more important than ever? 

There are two drivers of vaccine uptake: supply and demand. The most obvious problem, at the moment, is that demand is down. Paul Mainwood, a strategist who has spent recent months looking at vaccine delivery, points out that first-dose vaccine uptake shows a distinct curve. At first, each age group is vaccinated slowly, so the numbers creep up; then it accelerates, and shoots upward; then, as it nears 100%, it levels off again. The curve on the graph is S-shaped..

Credit: Paul Mainwood 

With the over-50 age groups, that flattening-off happened at above 95% coverage; but as you come down the cohorts, the levelling-off happens earlier and earlier. For 30- to 34-year-olds, the line has flattened significantly and it hasn’t yet reached 80%. For 18- to 24-year-olds, it’s lower still: the flattening is visible and it’s only around 65%.

That suggests that there is reluctance among younger people to get the vaccine. Whether that’s true anti-vaxx attitudes, or an understandable wariness of feeling rubbish for a day or two in exchange for a reduction in an already tiny risk of death – or an equally understandable, if in my view wrongheaded, concern about the more severe side-effects – is hard to know, although the ONS says that “vaccine hesitancy” is rare. Even among 16- to 29-year-olds, the most hesitant group, only 13% say they are reluctant to take the vaccine. But even if they’re not reluctant, we seem to be running out of people who are noticeably keen.

How you persuade those increasingly hard-to-reach groups is disputed. Finn of the JCVI said that one reason they were being so stringent is that they are worried about “the impact on public trust” if the JCVI recommends vaccines for groups who would not directly benefit from them: I worry about the opposite problem, about the impact on public trust if you tell the public that the vaccines aren’t safe. 

But given that demand is a problem, it does seem that an obvious way to increase demand would be to widen the availability of the vaccine. About 20% of the UK’s population is under 18; roughly 13 million people. Probably about four million of those are between 12 and 18. We can expand demand simply enough by offering it to them.

One question is, of course, whether we could vaccinate those young people quickly enough to make a difference. 

It does seem that the UK is not, right now, struggling with supply. I spoke to Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of statistics at the Open University, and he noted that all his local vaccine centres have walk-in availability for Pfizer, suggesting that it’s not an immediate problem.

But Mainwood estimates that we are bumping right up against our supply with Pfizer. If we were to take steps to speed up vaccination – by offering second doses earlier than eight weeks, for instance, or by allowing teenagers to be vaccinated – we would struggle.

The thing is, though, we have literally millions of AstraZeneca vaccines sitting unused. We bought 100 million. It’s very hard to get detailed breakdowns of which vaccines have been used, something that Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, who I spoke to, is somewhat annoyed by: but we can’t have used more than 82 million AZ doses, since that’s the total number of vaccine doses administered. Probably it’s more like half that. 

And since those March days when the AZ risk-benefit calculations were carried out, the situation has changed enormously. Now, the number of cases every day is back up around 50,000, not far off the January peak. The latest ONS infection survey finds that around one person in every 95 has the disease right now. And it’s highest among the youngest age groups – almost 3% of 17- to 24-year-olds have it. The Winton Centre’s analysis suggests that when the numbers are that high, the risk-benefit analysis changes utterly. A twentysomething has about a one in 50,000 chance of a blood clot if they get the AZ vaccine ,but a higher than one in 16,000 chance of going into intensive care with Covid in the next 16 weeks if they don’t.

If we freed up those AZ doses, we could do all sorts of things. For one thing, we could offer people a mix-and-match vaccine dose, so that people who want their booster earlier than eight weeks could do so. The evidence of effectiveness for mixed Covid jabs is now quite good, and it may even be more effective than two jabs of the same dose.

And we could offer vaccines to older teenagers who are willing, with their parents’ consent, to take a very low risk of vaccine side-effects in exchange for a significantly decreased risk of spreading the disease.

People should be able to make these decisions, or in the case of older children, to make them in concert with their parents, just as we allow them to make other decisions about risk and wellness. Perhaps they would need to sign a waiver; but they should be allowed to.

In about seven weeks, children will be going back to school after their summer holidays. The virus will, in all likelihood, still be circulating at least as much as it is now. We will head into winter with few restrictions, possibly with new variants, and still, probably, with a large percentage of the population unvaccinated. We could significantly reduce that percentage if we allow people to make their own decisions about what is important.

Now that Freedom Day is here, we ought to allow people a real freedom: the freedom to choose to be vaccinated.


Tom Chivers is a science writer. His second book, How to Read Numbers, is out now.

TomChivers

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

61 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Aidan Twomey
Aidan Twomey
2 years ago

Looking at the assumptions of the 7th July modelling, it is interesting that the immunity conferred by contracting the virus is assumed to be 100% (except for Imperial, who always choose the most psychopathic inputs possible for their models), but the reduction in probability of catching Covid after taking the AZ vaccine is only around 66%. It doesn’t really disturb me in the slightest that young people are catching Covid in large numbers. They’ll probably be fine, the vaccine is available to them if they are worried and they may be better off long term with natural immunity.

Get vaccinated if you want (I did) but it’s time to go about our business.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
2 years ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

I guess the problem round about now is that ‘time to go about our business’ may be fairly restricted by businesses not being there, with 25% of their staff sitting at home in ‘isolation’. Anything that can reduce that alarming choke-hold on day-to-day life is to be viewed as positively as possible, I’d say.

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
2 years ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

It seems that hybrid immunity is the target. Those who don’t get vaccinated will get covid and become immune anyway

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

“Now that Freedom Day is here, we ought to allow people a real freedom: the freedom to choose to be vaccinated.”

I remember back during Stalin Russian days the party guaranteed everyone the Right and freedom to have and hold a job. That no one had the right to NOT have a job was incidental to this great freedom to chose to work.

I suppose the covid ‘papers’, or app on your phone, is being obligatory, more so every day, but that is real Freedom – Isn’t it? Freedom to get a vaccine, and then freedom to prove you had it, in order to enter any building other than your house, or to travel anywhere? Freedom; it feels good to know we have that freedom.

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Re a separate UH article about impressionability, copying, especially in the young, being ‘free’ to want a vaccination despite any so-called ‘libertarian’, ‘anti-vaxx’ peer-pressure cannot be bad.
In the face of the current situation, of course recognising genuine concerns about serious side-effects; sharing vaccines internationally; needle-phobia, general fear and hesitancy etc., any mature, honestly-held bold philosophical ‘libertarian’ ‘principles’ recede temporarily, I would say.
Reflective, reasoned contrariness has a purpose but stubborn contrariness on its own is not an indicator of a greater intelligence, sanity or morality.

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

I think it is my moral duty to refuse the vaccine

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago

Why? For what reason/s? For many, despite reservations, ‘duty’ would compel them to receive it.

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Duty compels me not to

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago

Nonsensical.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

note: the only vaccine on which real independent data exists is the Chinese vaccine (large scale study in Chile, not run by a company that produced the vaccine or benefits otherwise from the vaccine)
If you are a scientists: that is how you look at this. The vaccines used in the UK are still in experimenting stage (till Dec 22): data will come later: everybody is a Guinea-pig…. I hope the outcomes are positive: we just do not know yet. A bit of cherry picking going on with the data for now.

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago

Are there not reliable data now? Can we doubt lives have been saved?
So, if we had to wait to 2022 would all the ‘anti-vaxxers’ be content with perpetual restrictions or would it be all the over 60s and/or those with serious morbidity just have to hope for the best that they don’t get seriously ill, get hospitalised and possibly die?

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

What if females are made sterile, or their babies have appalling genetic deformities, as a result of build up of lipids in the ovaries from the mRNA vaccines? Even it’s a 1 in 10,000 or even 1 in 100,000 risk it’s TOTALLY unacceptable to risk the very future welfare of humanity.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Peter Branagan

What an absurd and innumerate response. What if all these outcomes happen a thousand fold over with long covid, after say 5 years? Do you know? We have to make use of the best data we have.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Not at all an innumerate or absurd response. I don’t claim to know the risk. Pfizer themselves identified the build up the the lipids in the ovaries – which are not secreted from the body but remain indefinitely. Dr Robert Malone, who invented mRNA vaccines was alarmed when he read the data from Pfizer because he didn’t expect that to happen. Do you claim to know more than the inventor of mRNA vaccines? Do you know the long term effects of the build up of the lipids in the ovaries? Are you claiming there is zero risk of such build up of lipids causing catastrophic outcomes?
If you are then it is you who are innumerate and absurd.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago

It’s astonishing isn’t it, how a bunch of extreme covid sceptics on the one hand tell a story of a ‘scandemic’ and deny such phenomena as long covid, but are then willing to believe fantastical accounts of the dangers of a vaccine, mass experimentation etc. As can be seen from reading the article, the relevant approval bodies in the UK are considering all risks in the round when recommending who to vaccinate.

No wonder the Right, or part of it, if such they are, are losing the culture war if this is the sort of cause they champion.

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Just what I was thinking…

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
2 years ago

Idiotic response. Maybe it should the moral duty of the health practitioners to not treat you when you get seriously ill?

David Slade
David Slade
2 years ago
Reply to  Sam Brown

If you ever want to know why Covid hysteria has serious ramifications for our sense of decency and humanity; re-read your last comment.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

Could you expand on your opinion?

Graeme Cant
Graeme Cant
2 years ago

Well, that’s a piece of mindless stupidity.
A hospital in Houston decided that its duty of care to patients meant that all its 26,000 employees needed to be vaccinated so it mandated that as a condition of employment.
Only 150 of the 26,000 had moral concerns genuine enough to give up their job. That’s where the rubber hits the road.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

“There can’t be any socially irresponsible people who aren’t pathologically selfish, immature, criminal or insane.”

That’s pretty ludicrous. Where did you get an idea like that?

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Yes, I am pushing the boat out…Have edited my comment.

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Well put. The Doublethink Newspeak is nauseating.

David Slade
David Slade
2 years ago

I would argue that with certification for your right to join society looming, no one truly has the freedom not to be vaccinated. I have a second jab tomorrow, but without the threat of certification hanging over my liberty like a sword of Damocles, I wouldn’t take the wretched thing – just like I never take a flu jab.

I’d say the author has a perverse idea of ‘freedom’

Ian Howard
Ian Howard
2 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

Or thinks that mass experiments on kids is fine

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
2 years ago

Vaccine passports are the goal, after that the population control is guaranteed, in all senses of the term. With a little imagination one can see that, with the passports in place, one’s “freedom” can be turn on and off like a tap. Access to whatever can be denied or allowed via the app; that is the real danger.
The vaccines ARE experimental and for a virus that is no more deadly than the flu. The risk of injury from the injection is far higher, go look at the statistics. This is not about health it is about control.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrew Crisp
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

No way would I take the vaccine if I were young.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago

What about visiting Grannie ?

ralph bell
ralph bell
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

She will be double vaccinated and have little chance of serious illness. The vaccines work remember! Would you avoid Granny in case u give her Pneumonia or the flu? Not a great nephew/niece if she dies of lack of family contact/loneliness.
The more young people get Covid-19 in a short time frame, the better for their natural immunity and ultimately herd immunity.

Last edited 2 years ago by ralph bell
Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

Why not? What about ‘long covid’ which seems to affect the young as much as the old?

Hilary LW
Hilary LW
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

So called “Long Covid” (where did that term come from?) has all the hallmarks of post-viral fatigue/ post viral syndrome, which unfortunately a minority of people have always developed after any viral illness. It’s not at all peculiar to Covid.but it’s been “weaponised” in the campaign to get every single individual, young or old, injected with this novel experimental treatment for a virus that is dangerous for very few people and is becoming less deadly by the day.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
2 years ago

The author seems to have missed the very troubling recent observations in the UK (and for that matter Israel) that 60% (although the minister then reduced that number to 40%) of newly hospitalized patients with Covid were double vaccinated. Whether that number is 40% or 60% it is still very very high and suggests that the vaccines are none too effective in the real world, and that we have been kidding ourselves all along in the rush for a miracle to rid us of Covid.
On another note it seems to me that both the mRNA and DNA vaccines are problematic. The technology is great in principle, but it seems to me that in contrast to a regular vaccine (whether a protein antigen, an inactivated virus or an attenuated virus) one doesn’t actually know the dosage of antigen or the variation from person to person in terms of how much spike protein is actually produced and for how long. Recall for the DNA-based vaccines, the DNA is relatively stable but has to be transcribed to RNA and then translated to spike protein. For the mRNA vaccine, the mRNA is relatively unstable but still has to be translated into spike protein. The efficiency of those processes could well vary by an order of magnitude between individuals, especially when comparing the young versus the old (and incidentally it is the young where side effects with the vaccines have been most prominent).
And finally, I’m not even sure how these vaccines are supposed to work in terms of preventing infection (as opposed to preventing severe disease). The vaccines generate IgG antibodies and presumably some T cell immunity. But the initial response, in addition to the innate immune system, presumably should come from IgA secreted in the mucus lining the respiratory tract. Yet, to my knowledge the vaccines don’t generate IgA. Perhaps somebody could enlighten me and correct me if I’m totally off base.
And lastly, one other comment: I find it astounding that many are saying that immunity by vaccination is superior to immunity acquired following infection. This seems awfully strange since the vaccine comprises only one component of the virus (i.e. the spike protein), while infection presents all components of the virus. Indeed, I would expect much broader T cell immunity (which targets protein fragments) from natural infection. Perhaps here too I’m misguided.

Last edited 2 years ago by Johann Strauss
Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Dear Johan,
You are indeed ‘misguided’ because you try to come up with a scientific approach to the covid episode and that does not work because all decisions (ALL of them ) made in relating to covid were political and commercial only.

William Murphy
William Murphy
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

Obviously vaccination is infinitely superior to natural immunity in the financial sense. No money in the natural working of the immune system.

Al M
Al M
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

The author seems to have missed the very troubling recent observations in the UK (and for that matter Israel) that 60% (although the minister then reduced that number to 40%) of newly hospitalized patients with Covid were double vaccinated. Whether that number is 40% or 60% it is still very very high and suggests that the vaccines are none too effective in the real world”
I would want to know more about the hospitalizations, but the information doesn’t seem readily available. I don’t recall the data you can download from the NHS or ONS sites having much granularity. What you need is the breakdown by age; what other conditions do these people have, if any; were they admitted because of COVID, with COVID but for another reason or was it contracted after admission; do they recover or not and, if they do, how long are they in hospital.
40 – 60 % is a high proportion, so we need to look at the actual numbers here also. Vaccines do not 100% prevent infection, far from it, so if people who are otherwise vulnerable become infected, despite vaccination, they are at a greater risk of serious illness compared to other vaccinated and healthy people. Their risks will still be lower than if they were unvaccinated.
Given that the most vulnerable have been vaccinated fully (and indeed most adults), you might, although it seems counterintuitive, expect those in hospital to include a high proportion of double vaccinated people. If the hospitalised group also comprises people most at risk anyway and the overall numbers are low, it is indicative that the vaccines work. This should be the case for both vaccinated and unvaccinated hospitalisations – high risk groups only. If you get a spike in admissions for unvaccinated people in low risk groups, then you start worrying!

Iris C
Iris C
2 years ago
Reply to  Al M

You identify exactly what I want to know:- “What you need is the information by age, what other conditions did these people have, if they were admitted to hospital because of Covid but for another reason or they had it after admission, did they recover or not and how long were they in hospital.” It must be possible to get this information through National Statistics but, for some reason, we are never told through our free press..

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Johann Strauss

If everyone was fully vaccinated, then 100% of those hospitalised with Covid will have had the vaccine.
These kinds of numbers demonstrate nothing without further context, but that will not prevent their intentional and accidental misuse.

George Glashan
George Glashan
2 years ago

“A twentysomething has about a one in 50,000 chance of a blood clot if they get the AZ vaccine, but a higher than one in 16,000 chance of being hospitalised with Covid in the next 16 weeks if they don’t. ”
I’ll take my chances on a respirator and anti-inflammatory’s over brain surgery to remove a blood clot thanks Tom

Ian Howard
Ian Howard
2 years ago

Vaccinate your kids Tom Chivers but not mine these vaccines are still on trial so not proven to be safe it’s a risk I won’t put on my kids but have happily joined in the vaccine program myself

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago

Too many unknowns, too many variables, and too much sensitivity in assumptions for anything other than decisions made by guesswork here I’m afraid.
The vast majority of those most at risk have been double vaxd so we should move to the new normal.

David Barnett
David Barnett
2 years ago

Authorising Pfizer for young people is nothing short of malpractice. Pfizer’s own data show that the vaccine escapes from the inoculation site and accumulates in ovaries. No female of childbearing age or younger should be made to risk it.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago

It is simply grotesque that the UK medicines agency say that the Pfizer vaccine (in fact, ANY mRNA vaccine) is safe for children. They can’t know because the phase 3 trials have not been completed and won’t be for another 2 yrs. These vaccines are experimental and have only been given emergency licences. No-one knows whether they’re safe or not in the long term.
However, the inventor of mRNA vaccines – Dr Robert Malone – has grave concerns about their long term safety – particularly because of the build up of lipids in the ovaries and in bone marrow.

Sam Brown
Sam Brown
2 years ago

Did we give up on it? Or was the scare mongering by Merkel and Macron then followed up by the minor EU states overreacting to the actual risks and ceasing using it the real problem? There are risks inherent in most aspects of life…just most humans are very poor at assessing them in reality. The EU played politics with the AZ vaccine; that was the real issue.

Chris Scott
Chris Scott
2 years ago

Follow the money; good intentions will get you nowhere; selling a product at cost is providing ammunition to competitors: the vaccine is useless, it causes blood clots, it’s efficacy is minimal, it’s cheap (you get what you pay for) etc. All aided by MSM. Step in Pfizer; we don’t care where you get the money, but our product is calidad aleman and estatos unidos thanks to banks extending loans to complete the transaction.

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris Scott
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Scott

That’s a good point.
People don’t value cheap products.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
2 years ago

The ”science editor” should know that out of 50000 positive tests there may be 10 people who are actually ill with covid (have the illness) before he writes: What we do know, though, is that cases were already growing before Freedom Day

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
2 years ago

I thought it was established at Nuremberg that injecting an experimental vaccine into children who do not suffer from the disease against which it is supposed to protect them is unacceptable behaviour.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Nick Faulks

It’s not an experimental vaccine, as it has been greatly tested.

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

You clearly know nothing about the requirements for licensing medicines for humans. Trials must be undertaken in 3 phases to cover both short term and long term effects.
Phase 3 trials look for long term effects and typically are undertaken over 3 to 5 years.
The requirement for phase 3 trials was imposed because of the appalling consequences for pregnant women and their babies caused by a ‘safe’ prescription drug called ‘thalidomide’. Thalidomide was heavily promoted by Big Pharma and enthusiastically prescribed to pregnant women by 10s of thousands of doctors in the 1960s.

David Barnett
David Barnett
2 years ago

Universal vaccination in the midst of an epidemic is a recipe for the evolution of viral immune escape – utter folly.
I really wish policy makers would consult all the relevant disciplines before rolling policy out. The one-dimensional hyper-focus on epidemiology (how the virus spreads) is a recipe for disastrous decision making.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago

I wish people who’ve taken the vaccine would stop sermonizing others and quietly go about their business. I’m fully in my rights not to want to inject an experimental biological compound into my body for a virus the effects of which I believe to be greatly exaggerated. This, and the intense media messaging, is making me wonder if it wasn’t about getting everyone vaccinated all along.

Janion Heywood
Janion Heywood
2 years ago

Why not try prevention and treatment. Cheaper, and fewer side effect potential than an injection.
surely the UK is grown up enough to have a mature discussion of options at this stage?

Dan Croitoru
Dan Croitoru
2 years ago

Is UnHerd becoming sanctimoniously intellectual but “with a twist”?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago

Another dumb clickbait headline 


Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Barton
Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
2 years ago

The first walk-in no-appointment mobile vaccination point I saw in the Brighton area appeared in late June and a lot of people were queuing for it. Mobile points do 1st vaccination only. There are plenty of fixed walk-in points advertised that do both 1st and 2nd. They provide a choice of vaccines: Moderna, Pfizer and Astra-Zeneca. So presumably some of the AZ vaccines are being used. Today I was handed a self-test kit in the street (Made in China). It’s quite complicated, but at least those who need to know can adjust their activities if they get a positive, without falling under the Trick-or-Treat (or whatever it’s called) juggernaut.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
2 years ago

What amazes me it is the same people who march with banners saying «  stop lockdown » who also are the most against vaccine.
Gaga

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

There is overlap, but they are not the same, as often alleged. Many vaccinated people marched.

robert stowells
robert stowells
2 years ago

I always believed that the lockdown was global madness and that intervention should only be limited to helping the vulnerable while parallel efforts are made to pull out all stops to find a vaccine.   This is only a minor pandemic and the lockdown a worrying precedent where humanity appears to be taking the step that they can no longer live within nature and must instead hide from it seeking isolation, and wearing masks.   A dangerous water shed towards the dystopian type futures depicted in books and film.  The writer seems to acknowledge the minor nature of the pandemic but rather than attacking as I believe we need such experts to do appears rather to entertain.

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

Why would that amaze you? I would have thought it logical.
Oh, I see: you think lockdowns stop viruses…and you think these jabs stop viruses.

Sue Ward
Sue Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

I have been anti lockdown from the start but I have never been anti vax though I am dubious about rolling out a vaccine still in phase three trials to any but the old and most vulnerable. I have had both jabs, largely in the hope of helping achieve herd immunity without the government feeling the need to pressure younger cohorts into having it.

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
2 years ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy